Let's take ties to a new level: PM Lee to Kerry

Washington: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he looked forward to taking relations with the United States to a new level with a Secretary of State who knows Asia well and with new initiatives between the State Department and Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Describing Mr John Kerry as an "old Asia hand", he said he hoped that experience would help sustain America's rebalancing strategy towards Asia.

Singapore also has established a third country training programme with the US last year and has an annual strategic partnership dialogue.

"With all these things going on, I look forward to our relationship being taken to a new level," said PM Lee.

Mr Kerry, who ran for president in 2004 and is a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he wants to work on pushing through the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that is aiming to create a free trade area with Asia Pacific countries including Singapore and Japan.

But added that "there are some important law enforcement and security issues we need to discuss".

The two men met at the Blair House, the official guest residence of the president where PM Lee is staying, on the third day of his US visit.

Mr Lee also met with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew before he left Washington, DC by train to New York, where he will end his trip on Thursday.